UR.01.003 Kenneth G. Matheson administration records, 1921-1932

Kenneth G. Matheson administration records 1921-1932UR.01.003

Summary Information

Title
Kenneth G. Matheson administration records
Creator
Altmaeir, Carl Lewis
Creator
Arnett, John, Dr.
Creator
Billings, J. Harland
Creator
Bowman, Harry L.
Creator
Dayton, Edna B.
Creator
Disque, Robert C.
Creator
Dorsey, Ruth
Creator
Drexel University. Academic Dean.
Creator
Drexel University. Dean of the School of Business Administration.
Creator
Godfrey, Grace
Creator
Halas, W.H.
Creator
Howland, Anne Wallace
Creator
MacIntyre, Frances
Creator - Creator
Matheson, Kenneth G.
Creator
McCullough, William A., Major
Creator
Shrader, James E.
Creator
Spivey, W.T.
Creator
Van Tine, A.K.
Creator
Wagenseller, W.R.
Inclusive Dates
1921-1932
Extent
2.66 Cubic feet
Abstract
This collection contains the files of Kenneth G. Matheson, president of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry from 1922 to 1931. As he took office, Matheson and the Institute faced many challenges, including financial difficulties, decreasing enrollments, outdated facilities, and a generally dissatisfied university community. The files contain correspondence with faculty, parents and students which documents the numerous, positive changes Matheson helped to initiate during his presidency. Reports on departments, budgets, faculty, facilities, curriculum and extra-curricular activities as well as faculty publications are often attached as supporting documents to the letters and memoranda. A complete set of annual reports for the period 1922-1931 is also included.
Call Number
UR.01.003
Language
English
Finding Aid Prepared By
Finding aid prepared by Robin Elliot (2009)
Repository
W. W. Hagerty Library 3300 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 215.895.6706 archives@drexel.edu

Preferred Citation

Kenneth G. Matheson Administration Records, Drexel University Archives

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Access and Use

Acquisition Information

Date and circumstances of transfer to the archives unknown.

Preferred Citation

Kenneth G. Matheson Administration Records, Drexel University Archives

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Annual reports
  • Correspondence
  • Minutes
  • Publications
  • Reports

Subject(s)

  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Alumni and alumnae
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Curricula
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Faculty
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--History
  • Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry--Sports
  • Education, Cooperative--United States

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Biographical note

Kenneth G. Matheson was president of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry from 1922 to 1931. He was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, in 1864 and educated at the South Carolina Military Academy (better known as the Citadel), Leland Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University. He served as a commandant of cadets and as a professor of English at several military schools before becoming president of the Georgia School of Technology in 1906.

Matheson is credited with Georgia School of Technology’s development into a full-fledged university. During his tenure, he focused on expanding programs and services that would enhance Georgia Tech’s already superb technical curriculum. This included the purchase of an athletic field, the expansion of the curriculum to include an architecture program, and the establishment of a library. With support from Andrew Carnegie, what began as a collection of books in Matheson’s office grew in a few short years into a collection housed in an Italian Renaissance-style building designed to hold upwards of 40,000 volumes. Matheson’s success at building the Georgia School of Technology into one of the preeminent academic institutions in the South made him an ideal candidate to lead the struggling Drexel Institute.

The Drexel Institute in 1921 faced numerous challenges including declining enrollments, a corresponding decrease in income, tension among the faculty, poor relations with alumni, understaffed departments, outmoded equipment and facilities and underdeveloped relationships with area schools and businesses. A difficult set of problems certainly, but not unlike those Matheson faced upon his arrival at Georgia Tech. Matheson quickly established a plan of improvement and embarked upon it even before he officially took his post at Drexel. He reached out personally and publicly to the University of Pennsylvania and to Temple University, indicating his wish to work in cooperation, as opposed to competition, with the two schools. He visited area high schools personally to offer scholarships to offset declining enrollments. Administratively, he turned his attention to fiscal responsibility, focusing on running the school within its means and formulating plans to increase income. He surveyed faculty to assess staffing and equipment needs in their departments. He decided, in support of alumni requests, to reinstate the Library School, perhaps his first step in cultivating increased student loyalty to the Institute.

After entering office, Matheson reorganized the administrative and faculty structure of the institute. He appointed R.C. Disque as Academic Dean, W.R. Wagenseller as Comptroller of the Institute and Dean of the School of Business Administration, and kept Frances E. MacIntyre as Registrar. J. Peterson Ryder was appointed to the newly created position of Dean of Men and Ruth A.L. Dorsey was appointed to the expanded position of Dean of Women. The Dean of Men and Dean of Women were key posts in supporting student organizations and in garnering student participation in athletic and other extracurricular activities. Student outreach was not limited to current students; Matheson’s secretary Harriett Worrell was charged with the task of improving alumni relations. Shortly thereafter the first alumnus, Horace P. Liversidge, was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees. Faculty, too, were given a voice and an active role in the new administration, as Matheson not only created a Faculty Council comprised of deans, directors, department heads and, later, various committed heads that met on a weekly basis; he also instituted a faculty council on publicity to improve visibility for the Institute as a whole.

Amidst all of these changes came Matheson’s biggest plan: to increase the Institute’s endowment through a $1 million capital campaign. Before Matheson’s arrival, the Institute had been operating at a deficit, which Matheson managed to offset thanks to donations from members and friends of the Drexel family. However, in order to make the Institute competitive, to attract and retain the best faculty and to offer state-of-the-art facilities that would attract the best students, a bigger plan was needed. Matheson made an application to the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation and announced in the April 19, 1923 meeting of the Board of Trustees that the General Education Board would contribute $100,000 if $900,000 in public contributions could be raised by Drexel. The board voted favorably on this resolution and on May 7, 1924, it was announced to the alumni that the fund drive would begin. This capital campaign benefitted the Drexel Institute not only because of the funds it would raise but also because of the publicity it brought the Institute. Extensive news coverage of the campaign appeared in the local papers, including the Public Ledger and the Evening Ledger. The campaign was ultimately successful. $900,000 was donated or pledged by autumn of 1928 and Matheson announced on September 18, 1930 that the full $1 million had been received by the Institute.

Cooperative education was another of Matheson’s successes during his tenure as president of the Institute. The Drexel Institute was the only school in Philadelphia to offer cooperative education, a program begun by president Godfrey in 1918 and revised by Bringhurst in 1919. Matheson worked with C.A. Kapp, who came with Matheson from Georgia Tech, to direct the program. Together they made the necessary business contacts that allowed students of the School of Engineering and School of Business Administration to work for wages throughout the school year, as opposed to working just during college breaks. The expansion of the cooperative education program, with more than 800 firms participating, nearly tripled the enrollment of the day school within a decade of Matheson’s administration.

The Institute also saw impressive physical as well as academic expansion during Matheson’s tenure. Curtis Hall was dedicated May 29, 1929 as the new engineering building, and in 1931, the Drexel Lodge was renovated and the Sarah Drexel Van Rensselaer Dormitory for Women opened, providing much-needed housing for female students. Changes to the requirements for many of Drexel’s academic programs required the charter to be amended twice during Matheson’s administration. Entrance standards were raised for the day school and the several junior and two-year programs were merged into degree granting programs. Matheson personally oversaw the accreditation process of the engineering program as it was expanded into a five-year degree-granting program. The Department of Education and Psychology was established. The reinstated Library School received a Carnegie Grant of $10,000 to improve its programs. Students and faculty alike were encouraged to engage in research, and the faculty especially were encouraged to pursue advanced study in their subject areas either within Drexel or at other universities.

However, such great development, expansion and improvement came at a price. In May 1931, the Board of Trustees voted Matheson a leave of absence because he was not in the best of health. Matheson, however, with his incredible drive to move the Institute further forward, postponed this leave and died of a heart attack on November 29, 1931. A sampling of the achievements from his final report for the last year of his administration includes increased enrollments, even despite the general economic hard times caused by the Depression, increased spending on facilities and equipment, numerous faculty achievements and scholarly successes, cooperative placement at nearly 100%, programs accredited by all major national accrediting bodies, growing alumni interest, and athletic success, not to mention a surplus of $50,000. Even in spite of his unfortunate and untimely death, Kenneth G. Matheson left the Drexel Institute a remarkable legacy.

Reference Works McDonald, E.D. and Hinton, E.M. (1942). Drexel Institute of Technology 1891-1941: A memorial history. Camden, NJ: Haddon Craftsmen, Inc. pp. 70-97.

Agnew, Grace. (1999). A thousand wheels are set in motion - Georgia Tech Library and Information Center (The Matheson early years - 1905-1908). Accessed on 2/18/2008 at: http://www.library.gatech.edu/gtbuildings/matheson.htm

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Scope and content note

The records of President Kenneth G. Matheson span from 1921 through 1931, beginning the year before he officially assumed his post at the Drexel Institute until his death. The collection consists of Dr. Matheson's correspondence, chiefly with faculty but also with students and parents of students, and includes President’s Reports (Annual Reports) from 1922-1931. These records document the day-to-day administration of the Drexel Institute. Both incoming letters and copies of outgoing correspondence are included.

Correspondence is mainly in the form of letters, memoranda, telegrams, personal notes and postcards. Interspersed throughout the correspondence files, usually as supporting documents to the correspondence, are departmental reports, faculty reports, reprints and reviews of faculty publications, student transcripts and grade reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, brochures and pamphlets. The President’s Reports consist of two folders holding copies of the reports for the academic years 1922-1923 through 1930-1931.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Related collections: UR 1.5, Office of the President records.

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Bibliography

McDonald, E.D. and Hinton, E.M. (1942). Drexel Institute of Technology 1891-1941: A memorial history. Camden, NJ: Haddon Craftsmen, Inc., 1942.

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Collection Inventory

Correspondence   54.0 folders

 Series I Correspondence 1922-1928   32.0 folders

BoxFolder

Faculty A-C (1922-1928) 1 1922-1928 

Scope and contents note

Agar - Arnett

11

Faculty A-C (1922-1928) 2 October 20, 1922 - June 3, 1928   

Scope and contents note

Arnett - Billings

12

Faculty A-C (1922-1928) 3 March 8, 1921 - November 30, 1926 

Scope and contents note

Billings – Bingham

13

Faculty A-C (1922-1928) 4 June 3, 1922 - June 19 - 1928 

Scope and contents note

Bowman - Carlton

14

Faculty A-C (1922-1928) 5 April 26, 1922 - May 17, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Chapman - Cusic

15

Faculty D-F (1922-1928) 1 May 20, 1922 - June 19, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Dalton – Dimitman

16

Faculty D-F (1922-1928) 3 April 13, 1923 - June 26, 1926 

Scope and contents note

Disque

18

Faculty D-F (1922-1928) 2 February 18, 1926 - May 2, 1928   

Scope and contents note

Disque

17

Faculty D-F (1922-1928) 4 April 22, 1922 - June 12, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Disque – Dorsey

21

Faculty D-F (1922-1928) 5 May 5, 1922 - June 4, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Dorsey – Drew

22

Faculty D-F (1922-1928) 6 May 16, 1922 - September 13, 1926 

Scope and contents note

Easby – Fox

23

Faculty G (1922-1928) 1 February 2, 1924 - January 30, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Galbraith – Godfrey

24

Faculty G (1922-1928) 2 January 15, 1924 - February 14, 1927 

Scope and contents note

Godfrey

25

Faculty G (1922-1928) 3 May 4, 1922 - January 9, 1924    Home Economics Department Grace Godfrey

Scope and contents note

Godfrey

26

Faculty H (1922-1928) 1 June 9, 1922 - June 11, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Hahn – Howland; also contains the report "The Drexel Institute School of Library Science, Anne Wallace Howland, Director – A report of the special fund of $10,000 given by the Carnegie Corporation to the Drexel Institute Spring 1926 - Summer 1928." (bound report)

27

Faculty H (1922-1928) 2 November 11, 1924 - November 18, 1927 

Scope and contents note

Howland

31

Faculty H (1922-1928) 3 May 9, 1922 - November 13, 1924 

Scope and contents note

Howland

32

Faculty S (1922-1928) 1 August 5, 1922 - June 19, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Sawkins – Shrader

33

Faculty S (1922-1928) 2 November 17, 1922 - June 11, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Smith – Spivey

34

Faculty S (1922-1928) 3 November 18, 1924 - December 8, 1927 

Scope and contents note

Spivey

35

Faculty S (1922-1928) 4 May 31, 1922 - August 20, 1926 

Scope and contents note

Spivey

36

Faculty S (1922-1928) 5 May 9, 1922 - June 28, 1927 

Scope and contents note

Spivey – Sudell

41

 Stotkowski, Leopold Faculty S (1922-1928) 6 November 22, 1922 - November 25, 1922 

Scope and contents note

Stotkowski

42

Faculty T-V (1922-1928) April 20, 1922 - May 29, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Taft - Vorhees

43

Faculty W (1922-1928) 1 January 29, 1927 - June 22, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Wagenseller

44

Faculty W (1922-1928) 2 December 12, 1922 - March 18, 1927 

Scope and contents note

Wagenseller

45

Faculty W (1922-1928) 3 May 1, 1922 - February 8, 1928 

Scope and contents note

Wagenseller - Worrell

46

Correspondence - Parents & Students A-E 1922-1928 

Scope and contents note

Ackerman - Eininger

47

Exchange of letters between Fred G. Barbee, father of Lucile Barbee, President Matheson, and other staff 1923 March 8-September 18 

20090530003, March 8-September 18, 1923

New Jersey College for Women 1925 September 17-18 

20090530004, September 17-18, 1925

Correspondence - Parents & Students E-H 1922-1928 

Scope and contents note

Ellsworth - Hincy

51

Correspondence - Parents & Students H-M 1922-1928 

Scope and contents note

Hine – Moore

52

Russian Student Fund Inc. 1927 6 April 

2009053002, 6 April 1927

Correspondence - Parents & Students N-S 1922-1928 

Scope and contents note

Nace – Stevens

53

Correspondence - Parents & Students S-Z 1922-1928 

Scope and contents note

Steward – Zimmer

54

 Series V Correspondence 1928-1931 1928-1931   22.0 folders

BoxFolder

Faculty A (1928-1931) November 29, 1928 - October 21, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Altmaier - Arnett

55

Faculty B-C (1928-1931) September 20, 1928 - October 29, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Blackstone – Chapman

61

Faculty A-B (1928-1931) May 12, 1928 - November 21, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Arnett - Blackstone

56

Faculty C-D (1928-1931) October 3, 1928 - October 29, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Chapman – Disque

62

Faculty D (1928-1932) 1 September 15, 1928 - May 23, 1932 

Scope and contents note

Disque – Dorsey

63

Faculty D (1929-1930) 2 May 10, 1929 - October 24, 1930 

Scope and contents note

Dorsey

64

Faculty F-G (1928-1932) September 28, 1928 - June 18, 1932 

Scope and contents note

Fletcher - Godfrey

65

Faculty G (1928-1931) September 12, 1928 - May 20, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Godfrey

71

Faculty H (1927-1931) 2 November 10, 1927 - October 7, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Howland

73

Faculty H (1928-1931) 1 October 1, 1928 - October 9, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Hackman – Howland

72

Faculty H-L (1928-1932) April 13, 1928 - October 29, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Huntley – Lovell

74

Faculty M-R (1930-1931) 1 January 14, 1930 - October 16, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Mains – McCullough

75

 MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964 Faculty M-R (1928-1931) 2 March 18, 1928 - October 22, 1931 

Scope and contents note

McCullough – Nutting

81

Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur to President Matheson 1928 March 19 

2009053001, 1928 March 19

Faculty M-R (1928-1931) 3 September 15, 1928 - September 25, 1931   

Scope and contents note

Nutting – Ryder

82

Faculty S (1928-1932) 1 April 9, 1928 - June 10, 1932 

Scope and contents note

Sawkins - Spivey

83

Faculty S (1928-1931) 2 May 25, 1929 - September 29, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Spivey

84

Faculty S (1928-1929) 3 September 18, 1928 - May 18, 1929 

Scope and contents note

Spivey

85

Faculty S (1928-1931) 4 June 19, 1928 - November 11, 1926   

Scope and contents note

Stevens – Stratton

86

Faculty S-V (1928-1930) May 10, 1928 - May 15, 1930 

Scope and contents note

Stratton – Van Tine

91

Faculty W (1930-1932) 1 May 28, 1930 - September 18, 1932 

Scope and contents note

Wolff – Wagenseller

92

Faculty W (1928-1930) 2 October 28, 1928 - May 17, 1930 

93

Faculty W (1928-1931) 3 August 8, 1928 - October 31, 1931 

Scope and contents note

Wagenseller – Woodruff

94

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 Series IX Annual Reports 1892-1932   3.0 folders

BoxFolder

Original Faculty 1892 April 1 

Scope and contents note

List of original Drexel Institute faculty ca. 1892

95

President's Reports (Annual Reports) 1 1922-1929 

Scope and contents note

Annual Reports 1922-1929

96

President's Reports (Annual Reports) 2 1929-1931 

Scope and contents note

Annual Reports 1929-1932

97

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